Bill Cottringer

“You don't get something for nothing;
You can't have freedom for free;
You won't get wise
With the sleep still in your eyes
No matter what your dreams might be.”
~Neil Peart.

Shame on us all! We have collectively given approval for 5-M (mega mass-marketing media machine) to brainwash us into believing in the reality of a world full of instant need gratification, nano-second non-surgical cures for everything, ultra-easy success by imagination and the addictive lure of getting something for nothing—all with zero investment of bruises, broken bones and bleeding. Of course the flip side effect of 5-M’s clever efforts is the two-by-four on the back of the head reality check of glaring failure—the gap widening between your real and ideal place in life—because fulfilling your unlimited potential for getting the grand prize in the sky is always deceptively portrayed as not being as much easier said than done for most people.

If you get past your natural tendency to under-think the “Tit for Tat” game of life and exercise the needed self-discipline to stop short of over-thinking it, the real truth emerges. In reality you can’t just imagine desirable realities of how things should be into existence, at least not without first investing some time, sweat and tears to: (a) accept and understand that the lion’s share of reality is just fine as it is, and (b) work hard and smart with your God-given talents to fix the few broken realities that are getting in the way of where this noble positive psychology and human potential movement is trying to go.

It may be time to pause and really rethink our approach to this reality repair thing. Here is a short list of insights with which you can invest some time, sweat and tears to get something for something and become a much better reality repair expert, getting the results you want.

1. Take the time to understand self-limiting metaphors for what they are. We all have our brick walls and monkeys on our backs. But these metaphors don’t represent the actual problems we feel negatively towards and want fixed—like addictions, physical pains, relationship turmoil, loss of loved ones, unemployment fears, financial stress, loneliness, etc.

These hostage-holding metaphors really represent the true, naked culprit—our impulsive impatience in wanting quick and easy cures to these painful, unwanted experiences, and all the things this impatience brings with it to aggravate the undesirable realities we desperately want out of. We are often like a Tasmanian devil getting dizzy in a circling frenzy or the victim of a treadmill trap that keeps speeding up.

2. Catch yourself in the act of wanting something for nothing and believing you can actually get it free of time, tears and sweat. See yourself doing something wrong is slow to come to mind, but once it happens it can have a profound effect on stopping the unproductive behavior, sort of gradually overnight as the saying goes.

3. Here is the most difficult reality to accept: The primary “Quid Pro Quid,” “Tit-for-Tat” Game we are all playing, knowingly or unknowingly, has rules and they were already set before we started playing the game. The object is to discover these rules and then practice them to repair the few realities that need to be fixed. However, the over-active pride and ego demons with which we are all plagued to some degree or another, get in the way big time and delude us into thinking we can re-invent the rules and be more successful in controlling more than we can really control and get much more for nothing.

The double-sided sword in learning the lesson here is that the delusion of short-term success can prolong itself or obvious failure is the hardest thing to accept and also prolongs itself, both painfully so and hard to undo. In the end, this basic rule about rules, is what needs to be accepted and understood above all else, which many of us seem to want to delay until the last possible moment. This represents the biggest something for the biggest something in the “Tit for Tat” Game

4. This last insight leads to uncovering the main driving force of our reality-repairing efforts—the dual belief about:

• How much of reality needs fixing.
• How much power and influence we have to fix broken realities we don’t like.

This belief pair reflects our successes or failures in closing the gap between real realities we are presently part of and the ideal ones we want to happen. And of course the belief itself interacts furiously with the outcomes it helps bring about.

5. Next, creative “P” point solutions start becoming more visible. These “psychological power points” are the small but well-placed and well-timed effective reality-repairing interventions with the few broken realities that need fixing, having the least negative, costly side effects. A few good examples are:

• Focusing on your primary purpose in the thing you are currently trying to do.
• Paying attention to wrong perceptions of yours and others, that are getting in the way of progress.
• Using positive passions as motivation and encouragement to keep moving forward and negative passions to rethink the errors of your present approach.
• Realizing problems are an inevitable part of life and their main purpose is to teach you problem-solving solutions that can be useful to deal with the next broken reality you want to fix.
• Reversing the wrong sequence of our priority-reversal habit, mainly wanting “Tat” for “Tit” instead of how life really happens. This reflects another important rule of life: You have to “fit” in first before you can “fix” anything.

6. By now you have made a major transformation, maybe without even realizing it—from thinking about reality repair to doing it. That is when you start getting the results you really want in closing the gap between where you are and where you want to be. You have found a way to fit in and make what you are fitting into better from the inside-out.

Stop and pause in your own journey to appreciate the reality that you are making progress and moving in the right direction, even with the wrong turns that eventually turn out to be right. Maybe in an odd sort of way we are getting something for nothing. This would have to be called God’s love. But something tell me, accepting it is not at all “nothing” in the way of time, sweat and tears.

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is President of Puget Sound Security in Bellevue, WA., along with being a Sport Psychologist, Business Success Coach, Photographer and Writer living in the scenic mountains of North Bend. He is author of several business and self-development books, including “Reality Repair” coming shortly from Global Vision Press. Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (425) 454-5011 or